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Sesame Street shows kids what 2 do when parents are prisoned

Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:48 am

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/s ... hD9AsnVOyN

‘Sesame Street’ to teach kids about when Mommy goes to prison
By KATE SHEEHY
Last Updated: 9:30 AM, June 12, 2013
Posted: 1:56 AM, June 12, 2013

It’s brought to you by the letter P — for prison.

PBS’s “Sesame Street” is moving from ABCs and counting numbers to offering its young viewers a bigger lesson in life: how to cope when Mommy or Daddy lands behind bars.

Called “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration,” the program is distributing “tool kits’’ to schools, community centers and even jails in 10 states — including New York — starting today to help kids ages 3 to 8, organizers said.

According to one “tip’’ for caregivers, “Before you visit your incarcerated loved one, let your child know some of the things she can expect to happen. For instance, ‘We won’t be able to sit in the same room with Mommy, but we can see her through a window and read a story together.’ ’’

“Phone calls are a great way to reach out,’’ another offers. “Help your child to think of something she’d like to tell her incarcerated parent, and give her a photo of her parent to hold during the call.”

And one instructs: “When explaining where an incarcerated parent is, you can say, ‘Daddy is in a place called prison (or jail) for a while. Grownups sometimes go to prison when they break a rule called a law.’ ’’

A video in the kit shows two Muppets — Abby the fairy and lovable monster Rosita — dealing with a little Muppet boy who shamefully admits to them that his father isn’t around to help him build a toy car because he’s in jail.A woman with the kids then tells the boy she knows what he’s going through — because her own dad was in jail when she was his age.

According to “Sesame Street’s’’ Web site, the initiative received “major support’’ from aerospace giant BAE Systems Inc. The Prudential Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, USO, and Military Child Education Coalition also provided money, it said.

Reps for “Sesame Street’’ — which receives funding from the federal budget and private sponsors — did not return requests for comment on whether any taxpayer money is being spent on the initiative.

A woman responding to a Web article about the incarceration kit called the program “pretty awesome.’’

“My brother is in federal prison (conspiracy and gun charges . . .) and it isn’t exactly an easy situation to explain to his two sons who are 5 and almost 4,’’ the writer said.

About 105,000 children in New York state currently have at least one parent behind bars.

“We’re thrilled’’ about the program, said Tanya Krupat, program coordinator for the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

“It’s a population that’s in the millions that people usually don’t focus on.”

ksheehy@nypost.com

Re: Sesame Street shows kids what 2 do when parents are pris

Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:19 pm

Lest we forget, Elvis was such a child at age 3 and even a bit into age 4.

There were no muppets for him. So, yes, I think it's good to reach out to these forgotten children. They will be adults one day. And maybe they'll have happier endings.

rjm

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk 2

Re: Sesame Street shows kids what 2 do when parents are pris

Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:42 am

http://www.today.com/moms/sesame-street ... 6C10345061

'Sesame Street' creates first Muppet to have a parent in jail

A. Pawlowski TODAY contributor

June 17, 2013 at 10:45 AM ET

TODAY

Alex is part of a Sesame Workshop online took kit aimed to help children with a parent behind bars understand and cope with the situation.

Those friendly, fuzzy Muppets from “Sesame Street” have helped kids open up about all sorts of serious subjects, from hunger and divorce to military deployment.

But they’re now tackling a much more unexpected issue: incarceration.

Meet Alex, the first Muppet to have a dad in jail. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, one in 28 children in the United States now has a parent behind bars -- more than the number of kids with a parent who is deployed -- so it’s a real issue, but it’s talked about far less because of the stigma.

That’s why the Sesame Workshop says it created the “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” initiative, an online tool kit intended to help kids with a parent in prison find support and comfort, and provide families with strategies and tips to talk to their children about incarceration.

Video: For more than 40 years, “Sesame Street” has been helping kids tackle tough topics like death and divorce. With one in 28 kids having a parent behind bars, the show will now be tackling the topic of understanding jail time. NBC’s Erika Hill reports: http://www.today.com/video/today/52228286

Alex is blue-haired and green-nosed and he wears a hoodie – you might think he’s just another carefree inhabitant of Sesame Street. But there’s sorrow in Alex’s voice when he talks about his father.

“I just miss him so much,” he tells a friend. “I usually don’t want people to know about my Dad.”

It’s easier for kids to hear such things from a Muppet than an adult, creators of the initiative noted.

“Coming from a Muppet, it’s almost another child telling their story to the children,” said Jeanette Betancourt, vice president of outreach and educational practices at the Sesame Workshop.

Alex will not be part of the regular cast on “Sesame Street,” but he’s playing a central role in the online tool kit.

Children of parents behind bars often feel sadness, shame and guilt about the situation, so they need to know they are loved and that the incarceration is not their fault, said Carol Burton, executive director of Centerforce, a non-profit dedicated to supporting families impacted by incarceration.

“There are several million children impacted by incarceration in this country,” Burton said. “No one is paying attention to them.”

The project and its unusual subject matter have garnered a lot of attention, with some observers calling it a sign of the times.

"Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail," wrote a columnist on Reason.com.

Re: Sesame Street shows kids what 2 do when parents are pris

Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:38 pm

rjm wrote:Lest we forget, Elvis was such a child at age 3 and even a bit into age 4.

There were no muppets for him. So, yes, I think it's good to reach out to these forgotten children. They will be adults one day. And maybe they'll have happier endings.

rjm

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk 2



A very nice thing to say and good outlook, thank you :D